Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love, who injured his back in a hard fall against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, said he will play Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
It sets a matchup of Love against the Pelicans' Anthony Davis, an emerging star in the NBA. Love averages 25.6 points per game, which ranks fourth in the NBA, and 13.2 rebounds, second in the league. Davis averages 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and an NBA-leading 3.30 blocked shots.
In their only meeting this season, on Jan. 1, Davis had 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Love had 21 points, six rebounds and three assists. Davis sat out the Jan. 21 game after having dislocated his left index finger.
Love missed Wednesday's game at Oklahoma City.
“I'm feeling a little bit better,” he said. “It's still pretty sore, but I'm going to give it a go tonight. It's very stiff, but our training staff does a good job. They'll get me ready to play tonight.”
Love was injured when he drove to the basket with about four minutes left and was fouled hard by Lakers center Robert Sacre. Love's hip and back hit the court hard, then his head snapped back and hit it, too.
He got up, however, made two free throws and played until the last 29 seconds of the 109-99 home victory.
He said he has seen the replay.
“I could only watch it once,” he said, “because it was a scary moment for me.”
He was in the lineup handed out to the media before the OKC game the next day, but after talking with trainer Greg Farnam, he decided to sit out.
“It's still a lot of aches and pain; I'm feeling the residual effects,” Love said. “It's just something I'm going to have to keep better from.”
Love, who incurred a concussion against Denver early in his career, said he wasn't tested for one after this fall.
Asked if there was any chance he wouldn't play against the Pelicans, Love said, “I'm pretty set on playing, so I'm going to give it a go.”